The League of Villains’ grunts might have been easy pickings for the kids of UA, but damn, Tomura, Kurogiri and Noumu are not messing around.
Episode 11 showed off just how dangerous the latter 2 of the 3 are by having them take out both Space Hero Thirteen and Aizawa-sensei. In episode 12 they continued to show off just how formidable they can be by being able to team up against All Might and nearly defeating him (before Bakugo and Todoroki intervened that is). Now with the show having a greater focus on the fighting, there’s really not much to say, but I do appreciate the fact that the villains are properly established as threats.
It made All Might’s entrance more exciting and when we see the guy no longer smiling, we, the audience, immediately become aware that things are about to get serious. Though that’s not to say that things weren’t already serious before. All I’m saying is that if Aizawa and Thirteen were able to defeat Noumu and Kurogiri things could have still felt epic but definitely not as epic as what we actually got.
It’s just like when the villains in One Punch Man or Dragon Ball beat up the side characters to show off just how dangerous and powerful they can be. Giving the audience a sense of dread and hopelessness by having them watch likable characters be demolished and by solidifying the dangerousness of the villains just makes it even more exciting for when the hero finally shows up. And when the hero finally does show up to kick some ass, you’re not only pumped by the initial euphoria of their entrance but you get even more pumped by watching them perform said ass kicking. (Assuming that the ass kicking is well written, well-drawn, paced and animated that is. Look, I love One Piece, but the way the anime (not the manga) does fights can often feel a little underwhelming).
It’s like eating after working out. Eating after lazying about the whole day could still be enjoyable, but when you’re tired and hungry after an intense workout, your meal becomes even more enjoyable and satisfying.
That said, the one thing I enjoyed about this fight more than the fights in One Punch Man are the continued stakes. Just because the hero showed up in My Hero Academia things aren’t immediately solved without a hitch. All Might enters the ring after having seen two of his juniors be defeated by the honchos of the League of Villains, and to top it all off, there’s plenty of students that he might have to protect, he’s outnumbered, tired, sick and lastly he has about ten minutes left before he keels over.
Actually that’s not all of it, apart from the fact that All Might is not fighting at 100%, one of his enemies, Noumu is specifically designed to defeat him and thus is nearly immune to even the strongest of All Might’s attacks. But because All Might had to climb up such a steep and lengthy hill, when he actually does defeat Noumu things become exciting and our minds are blown away.
It’s like getting into a fight with a bully that’s twice your size and winning over said bully. No one cares if you punch out a tiny eight-year old kid when you’re like a high school junior or something–actually people would care, but you’ll probably just get arrested for it. Also that’s not really something to brag about. Beating up the bully that’s twice your size is a much better story and it better illustrates just how much of a courageous badass you can be. The same applies in anime, video games and pretty much every story.
We all want to see something cool, like the kickass animation in One Punch Man, but you see the thing is, that’s all you’re getting to get from OPM. In MHA you get so much more. You get drama, intensity, weighted tension and real badassery. When the hero, like Saitama, doesn’t care about what’s going on, it’s kind of hard to care about what’s going on in MHA either–especially when we all know that things are just going to be resolved in one punch just like that.
Though, to be fair to OPM, One Punch Man has more comedic leanings so there’s that, whilst Dragon Ball, One Piece and My Hero Academia are more traditional battle/shounen stories.
The last thing of note for me in these episodes are just the UA kids–especially in episode 11. I loved how most of them got to show off their unique powers. Sure most of them are not THAT unique, but I still like seeing other characters be able to shine in these types of shows, especially since it’s often just the hero and his buddies that do.
Overall, pretty solid episode!
I used a lot of weird metaphors but basically I like intense fights with heightened stakes and tension in it.